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E3 2017 - Hands On with NCSoft's Latest

Blake Morse Posted:
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NCSoft’s latest offering to the MOBA universe, Master X Master (MXM for short) launches today, but before it hits digital shelves we got some hands-on time at E3 to check out what you can expect from this hybrid MMO/MOBA before you give it a shot.

MXM is somewhat hard to put in a bottle, so to speak. It blends elements from dungeon crawlers like Diablo but also has a lot of MOBA to it if that’s your thing. Basically, you can play the game as either genre if that’s to your liking. You can choose between 3-on-3 battle skirmishes, a more traditional 5-on-5 MOBA mode and a co-op mode where you battle against AI creatures with your team of players.

No matter which mode you choose to engage in, you’ll choose two characters from a rather impressive launch roster. While there are a ton of original characters you can also expect to see a few familiar faces from other NCSoft titles like Guild Wars 2 and Blade and Soul. You’ll be able to switch between them at with just quick click of the scroll wheel on your mouse. Meaning you can go into battle with a melee combat expert and then switch over to a support class if your team is having trouble or any other combination of player archetypes that will be available.

You’ll only have access to a few characters to start with but you’ll be able to unlock more several ways. First, you can just flat out buy most of them if you feel so inclined, or level up and earn opportunities to unlock them. And some will be unlocked by completing specific tasks in the various game modes. And of course, there will be plenty of alt skins for you to collect. Players will earn XP and loot based on how they’re graded at the end of each match. Your grade will depend on factors like time, defense and attack and the higher the grade, the better the reward.

The gameplay itself aims for quick matches (no longer than roughly 25 minutes) that you could play over a lunch break. You’ll control your characters with sort of a twin-stick setup using the WASD to move around while aiming with your mouse. Combat is quick and frantic but definitely looks to favor teamwork over bravado. Players will be able to put together their perfect squad in the game’s social hub and groups will even be able to create their own guilds.

MXM is a unique beast, to say the least. My initial impression left me feeling like it’s trying to be an MOBA for people who may not necessarily be into the MOBA genre. But even then there’s plenty of content to behold even if you never touch the 5v5 matches. Either way, players should be able to get their hands on the game itself later today. 


Blake Morse